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Full text of "A sermon delivered at the consecration of the New Brick Church in Hartford, December 3, 1807"

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Collection of Puritan Literature. 




















DECEMBER 3, 1807. 









Holiness becometh thine house ^ Lord, forever. 


HE occasion of our meeting is one which 
rarely happens, and ought to be observed with 
great seriousness. — While we feel it a pleasing 
employment to dedicate this place to the service 
of God and the duties of worship, let us remem- 
ber that it ought to be done with reverence, and 
fervent prayer, that the Lord would now enter 
into this his Sanctuary, and make it the place 
where he will reveal his glory, and cause the 
graces of his spirit to abound to us and to all 
his people, who shall succeed us here, in wor- 
shipping him. It is the employment of the 
saints above to worship God, and the saints on 
earth do never so much resemble them, as when 
they are engaged in the same service. 

There is a sanctity in the place where God 
reveals himself, and we draw near to him in the 
duties of devotion. Under a sense of this truth, 
the patriarch said, of a place where he had re- 
ceived a manifestation of di\ine glory, " How 
dreadful is this place ! this is none other but the 


house of God, and this is the gate of heaven !^ 
Whoever comes with a Ught mind into the place 
where God is usually worshipped, or a heart 
filled with the pleasures or enmities of the world, 
<loth not know how glorious Jehovah is ; he doth 
not consider what reverence becometh creatures 
when before their Maker ; nor doth he realize 
the pleasure there is in true devotion. Rational 
beings were made to adore and serve their Cre- 
ator, and their happiness in these duties is the 
greatest tliey can ever receive. Certainly wc 
ouglit to esteem those times and places sacred, 
which are devoted to the worship of God. No 
one ever appeared to have a greater sense of 
these truths, than David, who wrote our text. 
The sanctuary of God, to him, was the most 
delightful and solemn place : the most delight- 
ful, because he there saw his Redeemer ; and 
the most solemn from his meditations, on the 
infinite glory of God, as it is displayed in the 
works of nature, providence and the face of Je- 
sus Christ. We cannot have a more lively idea 
of christian happiness, in the house of God, 
than is given by this sacred writer. ** How 
amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts, 
my soul longeth, yea even fainteth for the courts 
of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for 
the living God ; blessed are they that dwell in 
thy house, they will be still praising thee." 

There will be no intermission of that service, 
which is the greatest blessedness of the saints. 


He further adds, *' They go from strength to 
strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth 
before God." It is the place where the faith, 
love, and every grace of his children grow to 
a strength, which raiseth them above the power 
of temptation and the afflictions of the world. 

" A day in thy coiarts is better than a thou- 
sand ; I had rather be a door keeper in the house 
of God than to dwell in the tents of wicked- 
ness ;" ** for the Lord is a Sun ;" it is the place 
where he enlightens, where his glory shines on 
the mind, and guides us into a knowledge of all 
truth : " The Lord is a shield ;" it is the place 
where he gives us strength, and a sense of the 
safety of trusting in his protection : " The Lord 
will give grace and glory ;" it is the place where 
he sanctifies his church, and this beginning of 
grace is the kingdom of God and the beginning 
of glory." " No good thing will be withheld 
from them that walk before him;" it is the 
place where he hears the prayers of those ^vho 
regularly attend his ordinances, and is intreated 
to grant unto them all the blessings which per- 
tain to this life and that which is to come. 

Having heard a description of the happiness he 
had in the temple of God, lest any should think 
it to be an unhallowed pleasure, let us now at- 
tend to the words of the text. 

*' Holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, 
forever." — It was happiness, which flowed 


from a holy tempen In the house of God, our 
desires should be directed to him ; our enquiry- 
should be concerning him, his law and the me- 
thod of his grace, by which he delivers sinners 
from the punishment due to their iniquities. 

The house of God is not jv place for us to 
mingle earthly and holy joys, for they are not in 
their nature capable of being united. It is not 
a place for us to appear occasionally, with a for- 
mal profession, and a cold pretence of devotion, 
in order to make an atonement for a life filled 
w^ith iniquity ; as no atonement can be made by 
men, through any of their services, for the sins 
which they commit. The sanctuary is a place 
for deep mourning on account of sin, for great 
searching of heart, and that honest self-examin- 
ation, by which we become acquainted with our 
own. imperfections. It is a place to come to the 
blood of Christ for cleansing from sin : to make 
strong intercession for the spirit, which sancti- 
fies, and is the earnest of the saints future in- 
heritance : It is a place to behold the glorious 
majesty of Almighty God, before the bright- 
ness whereof the angels vail their faces : It is 
the place where we are to seek that holiness, by 
which we shall be prepared to dwell forever in 
the presence of our God. 

Bv the course of our remarks we are led to 
inquire — 

1st. The scriptural meaning of the word ho» 


2d. Why it is especially becoming in the 
house of God : and, 

3d. We will conclude with some reflections, 
suited to the occasion. 

Holiness, when applied to inanimate things^ 
means that they are appropriated to some use in 
the worship and service of God. — In this sense, 
holiness was ascribed to the Jewish temple, its 
utensils, the beasts offered in sacrifice, the peo- 
ple who had purified themselves according to 
the law, the ministers who offered sacrifice to 
God, and to all the external rites of their wor- 
ship. They were consecrated to a sacred use, 
and might not, without sin, be applied to any 
other. Inanimate things cannot be holy in the 
most strict understanding of the word. But 
still, it is a mark of respect due to the glorious 
majesty of God, to have certain times, places 
and things, appointed to his service, in such a 
manner, as not to be united with secular inter- 
ests, or the common works and pleasures of the 
world. It has a happy effect on our minds to 
have it thus. Our w^eakness is such that wc 
need every assistance in devotion. We are so 
affected by sensible things, that without their 
aid we fail in that warmth of the affections, which 
is due to a gi'cat subject, and by their influence 
we are very liable to be seduced. Entering into 
a place, which, from our childhood ^^'e ha^e 
been accustomed to esteem sacred, has a pow- 
erful tendency to elevate our affections to divine 



things, and recall tliem from the world to the great 
truths of religion, and our own duty. Our Sa- 
viour judged there was a great impropriety in 
making the same place a house of prayer, and a 
resort for worldly purposes ; therefore, he called 

M the temple a den of thieves, when it was thus 

used. No event did ever more strongly excite 
his holy indignation. I would here suggest the 
impropriety of applying our churches, as is the 
custom in many places, to other uses beside the 
^^orship of God. Thus mingling things holy 
and unholy has a powerful influence to destroy 
christian reverence. It is my duty as a minis- 
ter of religion to suggest the truth ; but it is the 
right of others to see it observed. 

My brethren, you are now assembled to de- 
clare this place holy, in the sense that hath been 
desci ibed, and to set it apart for the service of 
God our Redeemer. If there be any meaning 
in this transaction, your practice now says — 
" When we enter these doors, we will consider 
ourselves in the presence of God ; we will re-- 
member that he is, in a peculiar manner, within 
this place ; when gathered here, we will bar 
our hearts against every thing that is profane 
or unlioly ; we will consider this house as an 
entrance into heaven ; the holiness of the God 
whom AN'C adore, gives a sanctity to the things 
around us : this is our heaven on earth : — It is 
our heaven, because God hath promised to meet 

1 1 us here ; Oh I that it might be to us like heaven? 


rabove, where the saints offer j^raise around the 
throne of God and the Lamb. When we enter 
into the solemn presence, we will leave the 
world; and, O God most gracious, grant thy 
holy spirit, to fulfil these our desires." 

2d. Holiness sometimes means the external 
covenant relation, which the people of God bear 
to him and to each other. In this sense, the 
whole nation of the Jews, whether they were or 
were not sanctified by the spirit of God, were 
a holy nation. They were distinguished from 
the heathen, who were not his people, and to 
whom he had not given his covenant and lively 
oracles. — In this sense, the greater piirt of us 
are holy. We have been educated in a belief of 
the christian religion, baptized in infancy, taken 
into the arms of the church, and many of us 
have personally assumed the covenant of the 
Lord, and made use of his ordinances. In fidel- 
ity to my hearers, I must here observe : That 
this holiness will prepare no one for heaven. — 
We ascribe it to many, who are altogether des- 
titute of the evangelical graces, and to whom 
the Judge, in the last day, will say, " depart 
from me, I never knew you, ye workers of ini- 
quity." The visible holiness which we now 
consider, will always flow from a holy heart ; 
but it may, in some instances, be found where 
there is no conformitv to God ; and without ho- 
liness of heart, no one shall sec and dwell v/itli 



3d. We are led to inquire, What holiness 
is, in the most important and excellent sense, that 
the word is used ? Christian holiness, to which 
the promises of eternal life are made, is a con- 
formity of the will and affections to the moral 
character of God, as he hath revealed himself 
ii| in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a resem- 

blance of our hearts to the divine attributes and 
law. Holiness is a term of genend signification, 
a comprehensive name, not of one, but of all 
graces and virtues, and of the principle from 
\\ hich they arise, implanted in the heart by the 
spirit of God. The holiness of God is the 
whole rectitude of his most glorious nature, his 
wisdom, truth, justice and goodness. Holiness, 
applied to the law, is its resemblance of the law- 
giver himself; applied to men, it means their 
conformity to God, their obedience to his corn- 
: mandments and to the gospel, in the exercise 

jl of faith, repentance, love, truth, justice, resign- 

ation, gaod works, and the consecration of their 
whole being to the service of him, who made 
and redeemed them. Christian holiness being 
the work and gift of the Divine Spirit, is called 
the renewing of the heart, and being created 
anew in Christ Jesus to good works. The spi- 
rit of Christ imparts a holy disposition, which 
is exercised in such graces as are called the 
fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, long-suf- 
tf fering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith 

ll and repentance. Every man, in his natural 



State, is destitute of christian holiness. All our 
use of means will not produce this divine tem- 
per, unless it is accompanied by the gracious 
influences of the Holy Spirit. 

The Lord is as much the creator of spiritual 
life in the souls of his people, as he was in the 
beginning of the heavens and the earth. There 
never was a holy exercise in creatures, which 
was not created and preserved by a divine pow- 
er, thro' the use of such means, as his w^isdom 
hath appointed in his church. When God 
imparts holiness to his saints, he makes them in 
their measure, to resemble himself; hence, the 
change is called being made partakers of a di- 
vine nature, or a communication of grace for 
grace, a communication of graces to our hearts, 
resembling the moral rectitude of his own glo- 
rious nature. 

In heaven, there is but one moral character ; 
in the Lord our God, the object of all adoration, 
infinite, unchanging, and self-existent holiness ; 
in his saints, a resemblance of him upheld by 
the power of his spirit. O my brethren, how 
blessed Vvdll communion with this company be, 
in the open vision of God. 

Irreligious persons frequently think it unrea- 
sonable that a holy disposition should be strong- 
ly urged upon them, as a preparation for eternal 
life. Hov/ strange their delusion ! how little 
do they consider that heaven is a holy state, the 
Lord whom we serve infinitely holy, and that 


saints and angels act in perfect obedience to the 
divine will. How unhappy would unholy sin- 
ners find themselves in such company ! My 
brethren, while you rely on the atonement of 
Christ for pardon, seek holy dispositions and a 
christian practice, as the only qualifications 
which will prepare you for eternal life, and the 
only sure evidence that you have been made 
partakers of the grace of God. 

Our next enquiry was, Why holiness is es^ 
pecially becoming in the house of God ? 

After the description that hath been given of 
the nature of christian holiness, little need be 
said to convince every mind of its necessity for 
a right worship of God, and that the want ren- 
ders us guilty in his sight. 

God hath been pleased to institute worship, 
both public and private, for two purposes ; his 
own glory and our good. The profit is to be 
our own, to prepare us for a more near approacli 
to him in the temple above ; for no man can be 
" profitable to God, as he that is wise may be 
profitable to himself." Although the Lord our 
God is essentially present in all places, he hath 
promised a special blessing in the sanctutu'y, 
where he meets us to hear our prayer and praise, 
clearly discerning the dispositions with which we 
approach him. 

Shall we come, "vvith vain minds, into the pre- 
sence of him by whom we are soon to be judg- 
ed? Shall ^\e meet the Almiu:htv in the exer- 


cise of sinful passions ? Or shall we think our- 
selves preparing for eternal life, Avithout any of 
the pure desires and practical virtues which re- 
semble that most glorious state ? 

When the Lord calls, and we approach him 
without seriousness, it must be expected he will 
say to us as he did to his ancient church, 
*' When ye come to appear before me, w^ho 
hath required this at your hands; when ye 
spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes 
from you ; when ye make many prayers I will 
not hear. 

The want of seriousness in the house of God 
always incurs guilt, and is impiety against him 
in the place of his presence. Bitter will be the 
death of all sinners ; but most bitter the death 
of those w^ho fall from christian ordinances ; 
from frequently hearing the word of God, by a 
stupid or unsteady attendance in the sanctuary^ 
Remember, my brethren, this house and the 
use to which you have appointed it, unto all of 
us, will be a *' savor of life unto life, or of 
death unto death." 

I next pass to an improvement of the subject, 
and to some observations which are appropriate 
to the congregation who meet in this house. 

This was the first church, established in Con- 
necticut, in which the ordinances of the gospel 
have been regularly administered. The vene- 
rable Thomas Hooker, and his assistant in the 
ministry, the reverend Samuel Stone, arrived 


to New England in 1633. In the year 1636^ 
they ^vith their company, consisting of about 
one hundred persons, removed to this place, in 
the month of June. Mr. Hooker was acknow- 
ledged to be one of the most correct divines in 
the christian world : and Mr. Stone an affection- 
ate and faithful preacher of the gospel. Mr. 
Hooker departed this life July 9th, 1647, and 
Mr. Stone July 20th, 1663. Two eminent 
Pastors in the church, Mr. Whiting and Mr^ 
Haynes, succeeded those who were last named. 
In the time of their ministry, the church divi- 
ded, and Mr. Whiting became the Pastor of 
our sister church, in the south part of the town. 
To Mr. Haynes, in this church, Mr. Foster suc- 
ceeded. He w^as eminent for piety and died in 

The next Pastor of this church was the Rev. 
Timothy Woodbridge, who was ordained, Nov. 
18th, 1681, and died April 30th, 1732. Some 
very- aged people here and in the vicinity were 
baptized by his hand. Many, who are now in 
the grave, have related to us, how they were 
convinced of sin, and enlightened into a know- 
ledge of the truth under his ministry. To him 
succeeded the Rev. Daniel Wadsworth, who 
was ordained, September 28th, 1732. He was 
a close student, an accurate reasoner, and evan- 
gelical preacher. He died, November 12th, 
1747, aged 43. His memory is precious ta 
1 many of our aged cliristians. He was succeed- 



ed by the Rev. Edward Dorr, who was ordain- 
ed in April 1748, and died October 20th, 1772, 
aged 50. 

The present Pastor of this church, was ordain- 
ed January 5th, 1774. There have been nine 
Pastors of this church, since the first settlement 
of the town. 

The first house for public w^orship was built 
in the year 1638, stood 99 years and was then 
taken down. It was placed a little distance east- 
ward, from where the state house now stands. 

The foundation of the second house was laid 
August 8th, 1737, and was dedicated Decem- 
ber 30th, 1739. 

The second house was taken down in De- 
cember 1805^ to give room for the building in 
which we are now convened for the worship of 
God. The foundation of this house was laid, 
March 6th, 1S06, and is so far completed, as 
to be fit for present use. Sundry things ought 
to be noticed with gratitude by this people. 
The liberality with which means have been fur- 
nished, the preservation of the lives and limbs 
of those who have been employed in erecting 
the building, and the harmony of the congrega- 
tion and those who have been their agents, are 
circumstances which ousrht to be considered 


with thankfulness. On our removal from this 
ground, the Lord prepared for us a place for 
worshipping him, and in our return, may he by 
the influences of his spirit be with us. 



It is the presence of God, which assisteth 
men to worship him : It is a spiritual service 
^vhich pleaseth him, and neither the strength nor 
magnitude of the place will sanctify our future 

Both the subject and occasion of the day, lead 
me to express some thoughts on the nature of 
christian worship. To worship God is one of 
the first and most important Christian duties. 
All true worship is in the spirit of holiness, of 
faith, of love, and meekness : It is drawing 
near to God in humble expectation of mercy 
through the merits of his Son Jesus Christ : It 
is forsaking the world and all its vanities, that 
we may present ourselves before him, who 
searcheth the hearts of the children of men ; 
together with a regular attendance on all such 
christian ordinances, as the great head of the 
church hath appointed for the use of his people. 

Both the subject and the occasion reprove 
those, who attend the house of God with levity 
and a worldly temper : Is not this a common 
sin? Do not many come to the holy place, with- 
out considering its sacredness and the use to 
which it is dedicated ? When God instituted the 
ordinances of worship, he did not mean to be 
mocked, or that we should attend without ad- 
vantage to ourselves. To come here, without 
remembering it is the place where the Lord meet- 
1, cth his people, and that we need to be cleansed 

through the blood of Clirist and by his Spirit, 


will bring great guilt upon us. — On entering 
the places, which have been set apart as sanctua- 
ries of the Lord, our meditations ought to be 
such as these, How dreadful is this place, where 
God meets his people to hear their prayer and 
praise ! I have come before the m.aker and re- 
deemer of men, who upholds all things, and in 
whose presence I shall soon stand as my judge, 
to be approved or condemned for this appear- 
ance ! Covered with guilt and iniquity, I have 
come before him, from whom no secret is with- 
held, for he looketh on my heart and all its trans- 
gressions ! I have come to this place, with a 
professed intention to renounce all sin in my 
heart and in my life, and prepai'e for a state of 
eternal holiness. Here by faith, may I behold 
eternity with all its rewards placed before me. 
I never should have presumed to pray, if infi- 
nite grace had not invited me to the duty. O, 
most gracious Saviour, ha^e mercy on me the 
chief of sinners ; cleanse me in tliine own blood, 
renew me by thy spirit, assist me to keep my 
heart, may the things of the \^'orld be banish- 
ed from my meditations when I attempt to vv'or- 
ship thee, and do thou bless thine own institu- 
tions for my eternal salvation. 

The subject and the occasion do also reprove 
those who customarily neglect the instituted or- 
dinances of religious worship. There are ma- 
ny such persons, even in this land of Christian 
Heht. Many spend tlieir sabbaths in vain con^ 



versatioii, in a secret attention to secular inter- 
ests or in amusement, and their faces are rarely- 
seen in the congregation of God's people. It is 
to be feared they do not pray, either in the 
closet, the family or the sanctuary. Those who 
think so little of God as not to pray unto him, 
cannot be animated with the spirit of Christian 

A large assembly is collected in this place, 
among whom it may be presumed, there are 
some, who are rarely seen in any place of wor- 
ship. My hearers who are pf this character, 
suffer me to speak freely unto you, for it is re- 
quired both by the occasion and for the dis- 
charge of my own duty. What hath drawn 
you here at this time ? Is it the novelty of con- 
secrating this house ? Or is it the expectation of 
hearing some new thing ? I assure you there is 
no ne^v thing to be heard concerning the law of 
God or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That the 
law of God condemns all men, and that our sal- 
vation must be by grace through the merits of 
Christ and the sanctjfication of the Spirit, are old 
truths. Is not eternal salvation, in the presence 
of God and his glory, a stronger call to attend 
the weekly institutions of worsliip, than the nov- 
elty of this occasion is to call us together this 
day ? It is a truth, which I ought to suggest, 
that those who neglect the stated worship of 
God, are not only endangering their own souls, 
but devoting their offspring to ruin. The pow- 



er of example and education is great. — May 
the Lord have mercy on the lambs of the flock 
who are not nurtured in the way to eternal life, 
by those whom his providence hath appointed to 
instruct and pray for them ! 

Surely this people will suffer the exhortation 
of their aged minister to maintain in this place 
and house, the pure doctrines of the gospel. — 
You will always find a true christian faith and 
holiness to be connected. A crucified Saviour 
is the foundation both of forgiveness and sancti- 
fication. Abide in him, and you will persevere 
in duty ; depart from him, and you must stray 
from the way of life. The pure doctrines of the 
gospel, the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the sinfulness of man's nature, the necessity of 
our being forgiven through the cleansing of 
Christ's blood and the renewing of his spirit, are 
those doctrines which will give you comfort. — 
These are the doctrines which were taught by 
that venerable line of christian pastors, who have 
ministered in this church ; which were believed 
and obeyed by your fathers, and through which 
they died in peace. These are the only doc- 
trines, which will support us in death, and pre- 
pare us for glory hereafter. How solemn is this 
place ! which is surrounded by the sleeping dust 
of our fathers and friends, who have gone before 
us to the eternal world, and is now by this reli- 
gious service consecrated to the worship of Air 
mighty God ! 


My dear Youth, you behold the zeal of your 
fathers, who have erected this building, and 
who daily pray that you may long live to wor- 
ship the God whom they have served. Forsake 
not the God of your fathers ; cease not to serve 
him and obey his commandments. We who 
stand where the word of God is dispensed, do 
now, in his a\vful presence, charge you, that 
when the fathers sleep, this place may be holy 
to the Lord. As David said to his son Solomon, 
so we say to you : " Know thou the God of thy 
father, and serve him with a perfect heart and 
willing mind, if thou seek him he will be found 
of thee ; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee 
off forever." 

Ye Fathers, who are my brethren in age, let 

us rejoice in the foundation which is laid for the 

worship of God in this place, after we shall sleep 

;«i in the dust. Let us pray for the peace of this 

'i place, and when our eyes are closed in death, 

ji may we meet in the temple not made with hands. 

Of Zion, let us say " Peace be within thy walls, . 
and prosperity within thy palaces. For my 
brethren and companions sake, I will now say, 
peace be within thee, because of the house of 
I the Lord our God, will I seek thy good. 












IPttKiIiiet^eti tf a numiber of t|e tgctLtm* 





JAMES i. 11. 

And the grace of the fas! don of it perishelh. 

J HESE words were originally written to de- 
scribe the vanity of pride in riches ; but as our obser- 
vation of mankind gives no conviction that riches ai'e 
more calculated to excite human vanity and produce 
an immoral character, than the other allurements of 
the world, I shall at this time consider the subject 
generally, with relation to all worldly things, which 
men may possess, to the great pleasure of the human 
heart. Of all these things we may say " The grace 
of the fashion of them perisheth ;" — '' As the 
flower of the grass so these things shall pass away ; 
For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, 
but it withereth the grass and the flower thereof fal- 
leth ; so also shall these things fade away." It is 
true, my hearers, that we very often meditate on 
created frailty, in our own persons, in our families, 
in our properties and the great variety of objects 
which men grasp to possess ; but still wt have not 
meditated on them so frequently as to produce a gen- 
eral appearance of weanedness from the world, and 
diligence in laying up for ourselves treasures in hea- 
ven : we have not meditated on them so often as to 
become spiritualized in our temper and practice. 


Further, it is well known that this kind of medi- 
tation is generally disagreeable to men, so that the 
teacher who makes popularity the pole star of his ad* 
dress, would rarely hazard himself on this ground ; 
but there have not yet been so many monitions of 
them either from the pulj^it or in the actual dealings 
of a most wise providence, that the face of society 
appears to be spiritualized ; or that an impartial 
spectator in the prospect, would say what a beautiful 
world of christians is this ! where all appear to be 
travelling to heaven in a holy and happy manner. — 
Would not such a spectator rather say, these pro- 
fessors for heaven are like blind men half recovered 
to sight. They see the truth, and they feel the 
obligations of duty with the same indistinctness as 
a man half recovered to eye sight would see men 
like trees walking. There is still in the world so 
much spiritual blindness and sin, that we all need 
the continual strokes of providence, the constant 
stings of conscience, and the perpetual warnings of 
the ministers of religion to keep alive a little sense 
that all things here are " Vanity of vanities and vex- 
ation of spirit." And, my hearers, unless we add 
the meditations of our own closets, and our prayer 
for the aids of the Holy Spirit, these means will be of 
no avail. Although we were to speak with a trump 
from Heaven, *' the grace of the fashion of it perish- 
eth ;" still dying men will be worldly unless the 
grace of God prevent. 

I propose at this time to take a new manner of 
bringing before you the transitory nature of the world, 
in order to draw your hearts off from the vanity of 
its charms. i\ltho, in the method I shall now use, 
some degree of prediction may be necessary, yet do 
not think from this that the speaker pretends to be a 
prophet ! To enforce the probability of his predic- 
tions he will only appeal to those laws of nature, 
which have been from the first, and will continue to 
the last to be in operation. 


Probability is not certainty, but when speaking 
on many subjects, this is a sufficient warrant for a 
moral exhortation. That those are already dead 
are gone from us to their long home is certain. 
That those who are now alive will die is probable ; 
But it is a probability of that imposing kind, which 
none but a madman can reject in his religious im- 

1. To impress our own minds deeply on the sub- 
ject of human frailty, we have commonly looked 
back, and said one to another, W here are the fa- 
thers, the husbands, and the brothers who once sat 
in these seats ; and to whom belonged, a few years 
since, the properties we now enjoy ? This ought to 
give a deep conviction of human frailty, but we often 
find it does not. Men are apt to say concerning the 
dead ; and concerning lost properties, they are dead 
and they are lost forever. They do not take any 
pains to make a moral improvement of that which 
they know to be irretrievable ; they cling to that 
which is yet possessed and use it more idolatrously 
than ever. 

Let us therefore, by way of prediction, invert the 
view from those who are now living to those who 
will soon be dead ; from properties now in our hands, 
to their state and condition in the hands of others 
with whom we are now connected. This must 
convince us that the grace of the fashion of the world 
passeth away. We are now, my brethren, to turn 
our consideration from those who have died to those 
who will die : from properties, now in possession 
and from expectancies to the irretrievable loss of 
them. Can you meet a prospect of the future with 
the same apathy that you look back on the past ? — 
I imagine not ; I conceive that all men would trem- 
ble under a true sense of what will be, while they 
stupidly disregard what hath been, though it is in 


fact equally alarming. But we will now proceed to 
specificate the matter of our conjecture. 

1. Within twenty years from this time, not only 
the speaker, but the greatest part of those who hear 
him must be in the grave : their bodies will be con- 
verted into dust; their spirits will have passed the 
all-determining trial before God; their souls will be 
under that sentence which can never be reversed ei- 
ther in its tenor or execution. Some hearer, per- 
haps, may begin to enquire, Is this possible ? I an- 
swer, if thou art affrighted move not the question 
for thy own relief. For on the laws of physical pro- 
bability, the term is too Ions: ; deduct from it one 
quarter, and on the laws of natural frailty and of past 
experience, half these bodies will be in the grave, 
and half these spirits in the eternal world. Shall 
half of us be in the eternal world in so short a period ? 
shall our business here be done, our lot finished, 
and our names be forgotten ? On the principles of 
a frail nature, the fashion of which is passing away, 
this is true. 

2dly, Although my future specifications of the 
truth are really implied in the first, yet I will proceed 
to some division of facts, thereby to gain a stronger 
hold of human feeling, on this important subject. 

Within the period before mentioned, the relations 
of parents and children, husbands and wives, mas- 
ters and servants, as they exist now will be princi- 
pally changed. Those of us who arc parents shall 
be asleep. O that Ave may sleep in Jesus ! And the 
present children will say, my father and my mother 
died on such a day of such a year. Those who are 
now children, before this period, will be parents, and 
have suffered the loss of much fair offspring which is 
yet unborn. Of numerous circles of brethren and 
sisters now in health, perhaps all will be in the 


grave ; or at most, one or two left to mournful 
remembrance of what the family one was. Whole 
neighbourhoods and streets, without a single excep- 
tion, will be gone. — The face of society in its num- 
bers and efficient influence will all be changed, so as 
to make it in effect appeal* like a new world. With 
the change of inhabitants, there will be as great 
a change of customs, manners and opinions, in some 
instances, we may hope for the better, but in others 
doubtless fpr the worse. How true it is that the 
grace of the fashion of the world perisheth. 

3dly, Within the period mentioned there will be 
almost a total change in the possession of worldly 
property. We all know of what great moment 
riches and poverty, with their respective effects, are 
viewed by men. The greater part of their condi- 
tions will be changed. Houses and lands, and the 
immense mass of floating property will be in other 
hands. Some part, in this change, will be in the 
hands of other branches of the same family ; but the 
greater part will have passed away from all the claims 
of blood or affinity. Many who are now poor, will 
then be rich ; and such as are now rich will in them- 
selves or in their offspring be poor. These things 
will either happen from death, or fome other power- 
ful causes, which are in constant operation to pro- 
duce changes in property. Truly riches make them- 
selves wings and fly away ! 

4thly, Within the period which hath been named, 
those who are most influential both in the state 
and in the church, will be changed. Those intel- 
ligent fathers, those pious matrons who taught and 
prayed with us will be gathered to their fathers. 
The ministers of reliction in the churches will be men 
of new names. Those who execute influential town 
offices will be in the dust. The important legisla- 
tive, judicial and executive offxes of the State w^ill 


be filled by other men, and if any wish to know 
the character and the merits of those who now act, 
they must resort for information to their tomb- 
stones, their funeral eulogiums or the traditionary 
report of a few aged people. The whole will be a 
new world with respect to influence ! How many 
nations which yet have some power, will be wholly 
sunk ! How many tyrants risen into power by their 
loss ! And how many people, w4io think by politi- 
cal ties to call themselves brethren, will be irretriev- 
ably separated from each other, with the torch of 
war flaming between them. The grace of the fash- 
ion of the world passeth away. And for the truth 
of the description now given, you are not referred to 
enthusiastic impressions, but to a faithful recollection 
and history of a similar period past. If we can make 
these reflections with fidelity to ourselves it may be 
useful in our future conduct. If we will not be in- 
fluenced by what we have seen God do to others, let 
us fear him for what he will do to ourselves within a 
very short time. 

Thus rapidly doth time fly, and the wheels of 
providence roll into execution the schemes of eter- 
nal counsel, that sin may be punished and holiness 

And is this the world, in which you and I are con- 
tenting ourselves, and forming a warm nest for our 
posterity ? Is this the world, which we call our 
home, from which it is so hard to wean our hearts, 
where we say we will lay our foundations broad, we 
will build our walls strong, so that our houses may 
stand forever. Indeed the prececding is a true char- 
acter of the state of things which we ambitiously 
court, and should be ready, if the grace of God did 
not prevent us, to take for an eternal heritage. There 
is a serious improvement, which as religious people 
wc ought to make of the descriptions which have 


been given in this discourse. Shall we despair of 
happiness here, and give ourselves up to gloom be- 
causethere is no stability in the things of the world ? 
By no means. We do not describe to you human 
frailty to render you unhappy, but to animate you to 
the obtainment of that christian holiness worthy of 
an iuimortal mind and of eternity. 

We do not say these things to insinuate that the 
infinitely good being is sparing in the bestowment of 
his blessings, but in the end to convince you that he 
is infinitely good. Why is this life so short ? why 
are the generations so transient ? why are properties 
changed, and do honors and riches make themselves 
wings and fly away ? Is it because God is unkind ? 
No ! It is because these things are worth retaining 
only in the beginning, in the infancy of our exist- 
ence. The Lord our God created man in his own 
image ; he prepared, for the scene of his industry, 
a situation in which painful labour was not requir- 
ed. But our parents fell, so that an earthly paradise 
could no longer be a proper habitation for them. 

A promise was given of the Saviour, *' The seed 
of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." — A 
different state was now appointed to man, as he was 
in a state of probation. " In the sweat of thy face 
shalt thou procure and eat thy bread," was descrip. 
live of the change. From hence comes all human 
frailty. But this is no reason that we should despair 
of divine goodness. The grace of the fashion of the 
world passeth away to afford us higher and renewed 
evidence that there is life for those who are faithful 
and obedient. Let us all therefore be faithful in the 
duties of repentance towards God, faith in our Lord 
Jesus Christ, and obedience in newness of life. Let 
us remember that this life must be short, that it must 
be unsatisfactory, that the objects of the world must 
flee from us, and we must pass from them. But 


Still under the impression that the grace of the fash- 
ion of the world passeth away, let us not think that 
God is unkind. He hath made this a life of correc- 
tion, that he might shew his grace therein, and that 
it might appear, he is a God of mercy and not of un- 
distinguished vengeance. The goodness of God, 
and his offered mercy appear in the grace of the fash- 
ion of the world passing away. 

Having given a caution to those who may be dis- 
posed to dispond from seeing present frailty, I pass 
to a second use of improvement. 

This subject teaches us that we should not at- 
tempt to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth. Do 
we not naturally, my brethren, look to the things of 
the world as our portion ? are we not disposed to lay 
up our treasures here rather than above ? Is there 
pne present, who hath observed the course of the 
world, who can deny that it natural to man to chuse 
that very grace of the fashion of the world which is 
so apt to pass away and perish. I will not attempt 
to distinguish between my hearers. Can they not 
judge themselves, by the exercise of an honest con- 
science. Are there not some, I would trust they 
are few, who have given themselves up to the blas- 
ting expectations and indulgencies of sensual pleas- 
ures ? And have not all these failed, and left them 
in pain, disappointment and woe ? 

I am certain th.e sensualist will acknowledge, this 
after he hath run his course, and looked back upon 
it with a recollection of what he hath experienced. 
But what have been our expectations from the riches 
of the world ? Mammon hath always been a prin- 
cipal god of this depraved world. From the condi- 
tions of the people among whom I speak, it may 
without censoriousncss be supposed that an accumu- 
lation of property hath been a chief object of some 


who hear me. But I pray you to consider a little 
concerning the obtainment of property. And first, 
a certain quantity of property is a great blessing, 
Agurs prayer will always be an admirable one ; 
Give me neither poverty nor riches-—" give me not 
poverty, lest this be a temptation to me to steal the 
property of others ; — ^give me not riches, lest I 
through an apprehension of my own worldly fulness 
should forget my dependance, and deny the worship 
I owe thee as ray God and provider.'' 

Still, notwithstanding this example of moderate 
desires, which has received a warrant in the word 
of our Lord ; notwithstanding all the monitions we 
have had from personal experience, from observing 
the fate of others, as well as from the divine word : 
how many may we suppose there are in this collec^ 
tion of worshippers, who are endeavoring to call in 
Mammon as a God subsidiary to religion for the 
blessedness of themselves and their families. There 
v/e see a youth who hath drank in the false idea ; 
If I could be rich, I shall experience all I want. Per- , 
haps it is not very strange, that a mere youth, after 
the little he hath seen should think so : experience 
hath not chastened his opinions. 

Near him I see the fond parents of a young fami- 
ly, treading in the same delusive path. Says the 
father to the mother, and the mother whispers a ten- 
der assent, could we gain this for the son or the 
daughter it would be sufficient. We could with 
care and prudence take care of the others as they 
succeed. The plan is formed ; when lo ! disease 
places the parents of the childen to the account of 
death. The family is gone. If it be the parents 
they are forgotten, and we hope the children fall 
into the hands of more humble industry, and 
the path of more probable virtue. Let not imagin- 
ation itself attempt a description of all such disap- 


pointments as these. They are diversified to the 
full extent of what infinite wisdom can permit. 

Further — Another class are panting for honor — 
their prospects are fair ; they have had a good edu- 
cation ; their genius is superior, as their friends 
say ; many offices will soon wait for their accept- 
ance : But alas ! as it was at the pool of Bethesda, 
others step into the water before them ; for the wa- 
ters of human life are troubled by bad as well as by 
good angels, and the bad will be propitious to their 
votai'ies in this world. But perhaps, and on the 
word a solemn accent ought to be placed, perhaps 
death has intervened ; the burial of many such 
youth we have seen whose genius and prospects 
were entonibed together. I will go on no longer, in 
telling you the frailty of the grace of the fashion of 
the world. Sofar as ^ve have proceeded, it teaches 
us the vanity of depending on any present things ; 
that humility, perseverance in christian virtue, wean- 
edness from the world, and preparation for a speedy 
death ought to be our main business. 

May every hearer have that experimental faith in 
God and Christ, which is the substance of things 
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, and the 
best preservative against an idolatrous love of the 


^^^^^^^^ /v^^^i^-t/ 







The Female Benejicent Society^ 


October 4th, A. D. 1809. 






SERMON, &c. 

PROVERBS xxxi, 20. 

i^he stretcheth out her hand to the poor ; yea, she reacheth forth 

her hands to the needy. ■ 

1 HE great object of the writer, tlirough the 
whole of the chapter from which this passage is ta- 
ken, was to describe the character of a virtuous and 
good woman. — The description is more perfect than 
could have been drawn by an uninspired pen, and 
more copious than ^ve find in any other part of the 
sacred oracles. It is called a prophecy, denoting 
the divineness of the sentiments expressed, and 
whether we consider the subject in relation to the well- 
being of mankind ; the inditer of them, a female of 
high rank in life ; or the person to whom they were 
addressed, the prince of a great nation ; all add to 
their dignity and force. '* The words of king Lem- 
uel ; the prophecy that his mother taught him." 
By king Lemuel is doubtless meant Solomon, the 
wise prince of Israel, the -writer of the book of Prov- 
erbs : His mother was a great and good princess, 
whose advice on the important subjects, afterwards 
mentioned, thro' the direction of the spirit of God, 
he thus perpetuated for the use of mankind. 

Hear the tender introduction of her advice, 
" What my son ? and what the son of my womb ? 
and what the son of my vows ?" Her mind being 
deeply impressed with her own obligation, with the 
dangerous and responsible situation of her son, and per- 
haps also, with such modesty as a virtuous mother would 
feel in speaking on ihe subjects which succeeded, she 
begins in expressions broken, yet expressive; incom- 
plete, yet intelligible. What my Son ? How shall 
I address you on subjects so interesting to your fu- 


ture welfare as a man, as a prince who is destined to 
govern many people for the glory of God, and as a 
saint ? But I remember that I am a parent, that I 
have been the instrument of that life which cost me 
all a mother's pangs, and for which you must answer 
before God. — I remember the tears I have shed over 
your infancy, and the prayers and vows I have offer- 
ed for you before the throne of grace. My obliga- 
tion is solemn, and I will not be deterred from giving 
a mother's advice. How dignified, how christian like 
was the conduct of the parent ? Every one who is a 
faithful mother in her own household will be an orna- 
ment in Israel, and become a mother to the poor, the 
needy and the orphans around her ; her compassions 
will diffuse where there are objects of mercy to at- 
tract attention ; her christian love will glow where 
there is a soul she can save by extricating it from 
penury and such vices as are its common attendants. 
— The mother of Lemuel knew her son was born to 
great riches and power, which are common tempta- 
tions to vice> and as if she had a foresight of what 
would be his shame and the cause of vengeance on 
his people, particularly exhorted him against every 
kind of dissipation. If he had followed her moni- 
tion, he would not have been drawn away to the wor- 
ship of strange gods ; a notable instance of the dan- 
ger there is in forming intimate connexions with the 
sinful : Neither would he have heard the sentence of 
the Lord '' Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and 
thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, 
which I have commanded thee, I will surelv rend the 
kingdom from thee and give it to thy servant." 

Knowing that those who are dissipated in one way, 
rarely fail of becoming so in another, she also added, 
** It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to 
drink wine ; nor for princes strong drink : Lest they 
drink, and forget the Lord, and pervert the judg- 
ment of any of the afllicted." I presume there is 
not a hearer, but will recognize the justice of this 
sentiment : That which disqualifies for the common 
duties of life, must be more disqualifying for the dis- 

charge of any confidential trust. Dissipation of any 
kind kills the body, destroys the energies of the 
mind, and renders the victims of its power unhap- 
py in themselves, and dangerous in society. — Eveiy 
good mother in a family, thro, the circle in which she 
hath influence, will join in this advice of Lemuel's 

When this pious princess had dehorted her son 
from those vices by v/hich she saw he would be endan- 
gered thro' his condition in life, she did not fail to 
mention the purposes to which his power and riches 
ought to be applied — " give strong drink to him that 
is ready to perish, and vv ine unto those that be of 
heavy heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, 
and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth 
for the dumb, in the cause of all such as are appointed 
to destruction. Open thy mouthy judge righteously, 
and plead the cause of the poor and needy." Pow- 
er and property are instruments in the hands of men 
for doing much good, or much evil, and they never 
remain unimproved to one or the other of these pur- 
poses. They are either the means of corruption or 
of virtue ; of oppression or beneficence ; of grinding 
the face of the poor, or comforting them under their 
many oppressions. How excellent the character of 
those, who, abstaining from all excess, use the 
bounties with which God hath favored them, to com- 
fort the heavy heaits of such as are ready to perish ! 
How important the duty of opening the mouth in fa- 
vor of those who are dejected and dumb thro' distress; 
and pleading the cause of the poor and needy ! The 
clamorous beggar is often unworthy of any notice, 
except it be such correction as will reclaim him to in- 
dustry and decent manners : but there is a great 
body of virtuous poor spread thro' society, who are 
silent under their troubles ; they are dumb in pros- 
pect of destruction thro' want. Perhaps it is a moth- 
er who after a day of hard labor, enters the destitute 
cottage, with nothing more than tears to clothe and 
feed the darlings of her heart. These, the offspring 
of poverty, are also the offspring of God, the work 


of his creating power, and proper objects of redeem- 
ing love. 

Blessed be tlie holy spirit of grace who moves the 
hearts of such as have ability, to wipe away the moth- 
er's tear, and feed and clothe her suffering babes. 

We will next consider the character of a virtuous 
and good woman, as it is given by one of the most 
eminent of the sex and confirmed by'the spirit of God. 
The character here drav/n, beginning at the 10th 
verse, extends thro' the chapter, and includes all the 
virtues civil, moral, and pious ; it describes a per- 
son both accomplished and religious ; fitted to do 
good in this world, and prepared for the blessedness 
of the world to come. In the formation of charac- 
ter, regard must be had to the whole of our expected 
existence. It is possible for persons to be useful in 
certain states of this life, while they are wholly desti- 
tute of a fear of God : they may be respectable with 
the worldly, while they have neither a name or place 
among christians. But this defect cannot be found 
in the character we are considering. Civil and so- 
cial virtues, so far as thev are exercised with under- 
standing, are evidential of the moral ; therefore they 
are enjoined on the christian. — The christian is a 
good person in every situation of life. Whether in 
riches or in poverty ; in the state of honor or debase- 
ment ; in the place of trust to distribute the benefi- 
cence of others, or as the private dispenser of personal 
bounty The christian is faithful in all the social 
virtues which prevent the miseries and advance the 
happiness of human life. Of such a virtuous person 
we may say '' her price is far above rubies." — By her 
virtues her own character is respected, her neighbor 
is benefitted, and her maker is honoured. 

Industiy, in such employments as by the provi- 
dence of God fall to her share, and a most faithful 
use of time, furnish her with the means of doing 
Cfood. She is never destitute of a bountv to bestow, 
so Ions: as her fmcrers minister to the o^oodness of her 

o o o 

heart. '* She seeketh wool and flax and 'vvorketh 
diligently with her hands. She layeth her hands to 

the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. Her 
candle goeth not out by night. She is like the mer- 
chants ships, she bringeth her food from afar. She 
considereth a field, and buyeth it : with the fruit of 
her hand she planteth a vineyard." Industry is an 
excellent quality of character. The diligent use of 
time, for some good purpose is a christian duty. 
The indolent person cannot be a practical christian. 
The sinful may be industrious from motives of 
shameful parsimony; but christians have never a 
right to be indolent and misuse time : what they can 
spare from the support of the body, is necessary for 
the improvement of the mind : what they can redeem 
from the supply of their own wants, is sacred to the 
benefit of the Lord's poor, who are always scattered 
around them. Time is our season for action, and 
losing it is a practical renunciation of the powers 
God hath given us to do good ; it is neglecting our 
opportunity of preparation for eternit}*. Although 
industry, be not of itself, one of the chief graces ; 
still, when united w^ith them and acting under the 
laws of integrity, it ministers both opportunity and 
means for their extensive influence. 

If we consider the virtuous Avoman as having others 
under her care and maintenance, it is said of her 
" She riseth also, while it is yet night, and giveth 
meat to her houshold and a portion to her maidens." 
She is a good mistress, unto all who are under her 
cai*e, giving unto each one that which is just and e- 
qual, knowing that she hatha master in heaven. 

Let us view the virtuous woman in the more ten- 
der relations, of the Wife and the Mother. It must 
be interesting to every one, who hath any just idea of 
social life, to see her acting properly in these cha- 
racters. It is to her discharge of these relations, my 
hearers, that I call you to consider the dignity of the 
sex, and its immense influence on the promotion of 
happiness, and the formation of public and private 
morals. Whoever hath had a good mother and a 
good companion, cannot tlilnk without feeling on the 
subject ; although he may not do it justice, it can- 


not be from a want of conviction of the truth. But 
let the Princess of Israel again speak. — " The heart 
of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he 
shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good 
and not evil, all the days of her life. — For her hous- 
hold, for all her houshold are clothed in scarlet. Her 
husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth a- 
mong the elders of the land. Her children arise 
up and call her blessed ; her husband also and he 
praiseth her," Between the sexes, there ought to be 
no emulation for exclusive dignity and usefulness — 
Each hath its part, its appropriate part for the per- 
fection of human life, in the discharge of social vir- 
tues, and in the exercise of christian kindness, by 
such means as will subserve the interest of the king- 
dom of Jesus, and the felicity of mankind. 

" The heart of her husband doth safely trust in 
her, and he is known in the gates, when he sitteth 
among the elders of the land." She so manages the 
concerns of the family, that nothing of the bounty of 
God is lost, and nothing which is due to christian 
charity is wanting. Her prudent and just senti- 
ments, formed in the retirement for contemplation, 
and away from the passionate bustle of the world, 
have an irresistible influence on the common opinions 
of life. Although she doth not wield the sword, on 
her tongue dwell the powers of tenderness and hu- 
manity, of persuasion and piety. Though she 
appearethnot in the gates or seat of judgment, thro' 
her influence her character is knowii in the place of 
public justice. 

'' Her children arise up and call her blessed!" 
How admirable a desciiption of a virtuous parent ! 
Her children arise up and call her blessed ! And how* 
do they make the declaration ? In their words un- 
doubtedly, and if they have profited by their advan- 
tage, by their practice also. By their words they ac- 
knowledge, this parent corrected my vices, enlight- 
ened my mind, formed my sentiments of religion, and 
guided me in the practice of moral and evangelical 
virtue. Whenever I behold the flice of this parent, 

J feel reproved for all my defects, and encouraged to 
the practice of every duty. 

By their practice also they discover the blessed pa- 
rent. Their regular conduct, their sober deport- 
ment, and correct manners are the highest evidence, 
that they have been under the tutelage of a discreet 
and pious instructress, in those early years, when sen- 
timents of virtue are most deeply impressed. 

Further, In doing good there is the manner as 
well as the matter of grace. Austerity of manner 
may destroy the benefit of intended kindness ; it may 
depress rather than exhilarate the afflicted ; but the 
virtuous woman hath the natural softness of her sex 
to aid her hand and tongue in discharging the duties 
of beneficence. '' She openeth her mouth with wis- 
dom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness." 

But unfeigned piety is the crowning part of the 
character vre now consider. *' A woman that fear- 
eth the Lord she shall be praised." Religion is the 
first quality and highest display of excellence ; and 
the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom or re- 
ligion. Whatever povv^ers of natural genius, whatev- 
er improvement of science and education, whatever 
elegance of person, whatever of that softness in man- 
ner, which for a few moments of time attracts the eye, 
sooths the ear and seems to invade the heart ; the 
whole, without religion, is but an illusion. A lo^'e of 
God, and ^vhere there is a love there will be fear of 
him also, and obedience to his commandments, is 
the essential principle, the sum and the commanding 
display of such moral excellence as is useful in life 
and will continue thro' eternity. This love and fear 
of God purifies the whole nature of a creature, excites 
to every social duty in this life, triumphs over tempt- 
ation, danger and death, assists us to abide in Jesus 
Christ by faith, and is the bond which holds the in- 
telligent universe in sweet subjection to the great 
Creator. It was tliis principle which animated the 
little company of pious women, who ministered to the 
necessities of our Redeemer in his life, stood at a dis- 
tance Spectators of his death, and became ^ntnesscs 


of his resurrection. It was this which moved those 
honorable women, and we are told they were not few, 
who heard the preaching of the apostles with joy, 
and became select instrum.ents of introducing the gos- 
pel into their several cities and nations. 

I have reserved one part of the character of the 
virtuous woman, to the last of my discourse, as it is 
appropriate to the occasion of the evening — and with 
this I shall conclude. 

It is contained in the words of our text — " She 
stretcheth out her hand to the poor, yea, she reach- 
eth forth her hands to the need v." Where all the 
virtues before mentioned ai*e united, there never can 
be a want of beneficence to the poor and afflicted. 

When God gave his law to Israel he told them the 
poor should always be in their land, 9y\d many of the 
civil ordinances delivered by him were designed for 
their benefit. If there be any sins awTully denounced 
in the w ord of God, one of them is denying kindness 
and judgment to the poor. This sin, my hearers, is 
a practical denial of the Lord's sovereignty in his prov- 
idence and of our own demerits. — If there be any 
virtue to which high promises are made, it is benefi- 
cence to the afflicted and forlorn thro' poverty. — 
We live in a land of plenty, yet in {his land, there 
are children of want, In this land there are families, 
individuals and children over whom the christian, 
when acquainted with all their circumstances, must 
weep, as Jesus did at the grave of Lazarus. — Com- 
passion and tears are not a disgrace to human nature, 
when properly excited. — My hearers I am not asha- 
med to weep, when I read that my Saviour w^ept. — If 
you can find no other evidence for the propriety of 
charitable institutions, ask your parish ministers, 
whose inevitable duty, altho' it be with pained hearts, 
often calls them to pray by the dying bedside of a 
poor parent, and after they have commended the 
departing spirit to the grace of God, turn to look on 
the offspring tattered thro' want of cloathing, mea- 
gre thro' want of food, and hopeless thro' want of a 
beneficent society to take thcrn under its care. Wc 


wish you not, my friends, to see such scenes, but in 
this world you must expect to meet them, and if you 
are christians, you will be willing in obedience to the 
providence of your heavenly father, to meet them 
with vour bountv. And who shall alleviate these mis- 
fortunes of humanlife? The civil law of the State hath 
done all that can be done in this manner ; but bles- 
sed be God ! there are institutions which derive their 
force from his law and the tender consciences of 
individual christians. — Blessed ! blessed from the 
presence of the Lord be those institutions, which are 
designed to wipe the tear from the eye of indigent af- 
fliction ; to say to the widow, I am appointed by 
God, to mourn with thee, and administer to thy pres- 
ent needs. — Under the banner of the institution, of 
which I am an organ, trust thy fatherless daughter, 
that she may be educated in decency and the fear of 
the Lord, that she may in lier time become a virtuous 
matron, and speak the same words of comfort in the 
divine promises to others, which we now speak to 

thee. Ye mothers and ye daughters in our Israel, 

may the Lord prosper you in your pious attempt. — 
If there be one who hath come to this assembly thro' 
curiosity, let him remember that the providence of 
God hath led him to a place, where his own liberality 
may draw down upon him the blessings of both 
worlds. And if there be a man in this congregation, 
who doth not hear the call, we will mark him, not in- 
dignantly, but we will follow him with our prayers, 
that his heart mav become good and pitiful. 


Constitution of the Hartford Female Beneficent Society. 

THE name shall be the " Female Beneficent Society." 

The primary and general object of the Society, shall be, to re- 
lieve the distressed, and to promote knowledge, virtue and hap- 
piness, among the female part of the community. 

The particular design shall be to raise funds for the benefit of 
the poor belonging to the City of Hartford, but relief may be ex- 
tended to others if it is deemed necessary. 

The next object shall be to seek out and assist such persons as 
wish for regular employment, or have been reduced by misfor- 
tune, and are prevented by diffidence, or delicacy of feeling, from 
soliciting aid. 

Another object shall be to devote a part of the money contrib- 
uted to the education of young females, who shall be placed unde^ 
the care of such serious person or persons, as will give them in- 
struction in reading, sewing, and good housewifery, and impress 
them with moral and religious principles. At a proper age, the 
Society shall endeavour to place them in a situation to obtain a 
living for themselves. 

Every subscriber who shall pay 25 cents per quarter, can be a 
member of the Society, and any female who will advance 15 dol- 
lars, shall be a member without any further payment. 
The Officers of the Society shall be, 

1st, A President, whose duty it shall be to preserve order, to pro- 
pose questions named for dicussion,and to declare the decisions. She 
shall have the casting vote. With the advice of the managers, she 
may call special meetings of the Society. When the President is ab- 
sent, the chief Manager presides. 

2d, A Secretary, who shall keep a register of the names of the 
members, receive the subscriptions quarterly at her house on the 
third Tuesday in August, November, February and May, and pay 
them to the Treasurer ; she shall attend the meetings of the So- 
ciety, and record their proceedings. 

3d, A Treasurer, whose business it shall be to take charge of the 
monies collected for the Society, and when called upon to render an 
account of the funds, and of lier receipts and payments. She shall 
pay out no money without a written order from the chief Manager. 

4th. Thirteen Managers, whose business it shall be to seek out 
proper objects of relief for the Society. They shall have a right with 
the advice of the chief Manager, to draw upon the Treasurer for such 
sums as she shall deem necessary, and shall give account to the So- 
ciety how those sums have been applied. They shall meet once a 
month on juch days as they shall think best, and choose from among 
themselves a chief manager who shall preside at their meetings. At 
a meeting where three are present, business may be transacted. 

5th, A Committee of two, who shall meet on the week before the 
meeting for choosing officers, and examine the accounts of the Secre- 
tary and Treasurer, and make report to the Society. 

There shall be two stated meetings in a year, viz. on the first Wed- 
nesday in October, and first Wednesday in April. Ten membera 
shall form a quorum. 

The officers are to be chosen annually on the first Wednesday in 
April. Every meeting of the Society shall be opened with prayer. 

Any member may withdraw her name by paying what is due, and 
giving orders for that purpose to the Secretary. 

The Society have agreed to have a suck provided, which shall be 
placed in a situation where each member may, if she ])leases, put in at 
any time, cloathing or other things which may be useful to the i)oor. 
This sack will be lodged at the house of the chief Manager; who 
with the assistance of a majority of the Managers, may dispose of the 
contents hi such a m&nner as shall by them be thought best. 

^OM^ r/ ayy/Uyi^if'Uy' 

^'z^jPS'u^^'^ck.^u^ Ji^ayi 



T.*T 1 -»• 



;delivered at the interment 





DECEMBER 25, 1816: 





The just shall be had in everlasting remembrance. 

Gi'orge Goodwin and Sons.,«.Prinjers. 








XlEATH is an event, in itself, and in its consequen- 
ces, solemn, and deeply affecting to all. It awaits all 
the living. There is no man bath power over the Spirit 
to retain the Spirit, neither hath he power in the day of 
death ; and there is no discharge in that war. We draw 
mortal breath, and inhabit mortal bodies. It is appointed 
for all men once to die. ^nd a time to die. Soon — ah, 
soon we must all go down to the silence of the tomb. Man 
dieth and wasteth away, yea, man giveth up the ghost, and 
where is he ? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood 
decayeth and drieth up, so man lieth down, and riseth not 
till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be 
raised out of sleep. As the cloud is consumed and van- 
isbeth away : so he that goeth to the grave shall come up 
no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither* 
shall his place know him any more. Every where, and all 
around us, we have proofs of human frailty and mortality, 
in high and low, in old and young, in sacred and civil life. 
No usefulness, no greatness of talents, no eminence of 
piety can be any security against the arrests of death, 
justly styled, the king of terrors. Our fathers, where are 
they, and the prophets, do they live forever ? A sovereign 
and holy Providence removes, by death, from this stage of 
action, wliom, and when it pleaseth. 

We are convened at this time in the sanctuary to pay 
our tribute of respect to the remains of that distinguished 
servant of the Lord, who led here in the public devo- 



tions ,' and taught this church and people the great and 
glorious truths of revealed religion ; and hroke to them 
the bread of life. We are come to weep with those that 
weep ; to mingle our tears with this mourning people, and 
these bereaved children and friends. We are to follow, 
in solemn procession, the remains of our greatly respect- 
ed brother and friend to the lonely grave, the house 
appointed for all the living. Ah ! let us never forget, that 
thither too, we must ere long descend — that tliither too, 
we must all be quickly gathered. Surviving friends may 
weep over us, as we do over the deceased. Let our main 
care be, in all our various places and relations, to be 
faithful unto death, faithful unto God, unto conscience, 
and unto our divine Lord and Master, and then we shall 
receive a crown of life. 

Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown 
of life. 

These words make a part of the message delivered by 
the Apostle John, in the name and by the authority of his 
divine Lord, to the church of Smyrna, one of the seven 
famous Asiatic churches. It is directed to the angel of 
that church, and through him to all its members ; and is 
applicable to all the people of God, of every age and 
country. The angel of the church was the bishop, or 
stated pastor of it, who performed the duties of a gospel 
minister. And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna, 
write these things, saith the first and the last, which was 
dead and is alive : I know thy works, and tribulation, 
and jjoverty, but thou art rich, and I know the blasphemy 
of them that say they are Jews, and are not, but are the 
synagogue of Satan, Fear none of these things which 
thou shall suffer : behold the devil shall cast some of ijou 
into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have 
tribulation ten days : be thou faithful unto death, and I 
will give thee a crown of life. The angel, or pastor of 
the church of Smyrna was to be faithful unto death, in 
bis important work as a gospel minister ; and then at 


death, or when his days on earth should be finished, he 
should be gloriously rewarded. Accordingly, what is pro- 
posed in the subsequent discourse, is to explain the nature 
and duty of faithfulness in a gospel minister ; and then to 
consider the reward, which he shall receive, at death. 

It is, in our method of discourse, proposed first, to 
explain the nature and duty of faithfulness in a gospel 

Be thou faithful unto death. 

All people, who are faithful to Christ, in their several 
places and relations, shall receive a crown of life from 
him, and be remunerated with all the felicity of the world 
of glory, as well as faithful ministers. But faithfulness 
in the arduous and important duties of the sacred office, 
is now to be particularly considered. Faithfulness, in 
general, consists in an upright and careful fulfilment of 
the trust reposed in us, and the duties reasonably expected 
of us. It is what we take a particular satisfaction in 
seeing exemplified, in every place and station in life. 
It is a beautiful part of a virtuous character. In no 
place or station, however, is it more necessary than in 
a gospel minister. Because interests of high and infinite 
consequence are depending ; even the salvation of the 
souls of his people — their eternal well-being. 

And it is of great moment to observe, that in order for 
him to be truly faithful, in the duties of the pastoral office, 
lie must have a really pious heart. Personal religion, or 
vital godliness is his most essential qualification. This 
is not the only qualification. But without it, no educa- 
tion however extended, no science however great, no 
talents however brilliant, no address however conciliating, 
and no eloquence however powerful, will avail. There 
must be the regenerate principle. No man ought to 
presume to undertake to labour, in so divine a calling, 
unless, after the best and most critical examination, he 
find that he may, upon just and scriptural grounds, 
entertain the hope that he has experienced a work of 

'^w « ▼•'^^^■■mn 


saving grate on the heart, or been the subject ol the re- 
generating influences of the Holy Ghost. To preach aji 
unknown Saviour is a difficult and perilous undertaking. 
To attempt to unfold and recommend a religion, whieh 
we ourselves have never embraced, and which we know 
only, as we do the arts and sciences, by study and spec- 
ulation, is of all employments the most inconsistent. 
Amidst dangers and difficulties, who, that is wise, would 
confide in another, as a safe guide, to direct in the path,, 
which he himself had never travelled ; or risk a distant 
voyage over a troubled ocean, with one, as a pilot, wIm) 
liad never made himself acquainted even with the mar- 
iner^s art. The thing speaks for itself. Every person 
of common sense and candor can judge for himself, in so 
plain a case. All persons, anxious about their salvation 
in another world, when they apply for instruction and 
counsel, in so momentous a concern, wish to have one to 
direct and counsel tliem, who feels what he says, and knows 
tlie path. A minister of the gospel, then, in order to be 
faithful in all his work, must be a regenerated man, or 
experimentally know the truth as it is in Jesus — must feel 
the love of God and love of souls in his heart. If he 
have great erudition, and doctrinal knowledge of natural 
and revealed religion, but an unsanctiiied heart, he will, 
by his evil heart of unbelief, be led either to omit or be 
remiss in his work. The heart is deceitful above all 
things and desperately wicked ; who can know it ? No 
person indeed can be admitted into the kingdom of glory, 
who is a stranger to the new-birth. And if any be 
unwilling to hear this truth, they are in so much greater 
need to have it urged. Verihj^ verilij, I say unto you 
except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of 
God, Marvel not that I say unto you, ye must be born 
again. In Christ Jesus neither circmncision availeth any 
thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. If any 
man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature ; all old things 
are past away, and beliold all things are become new. A 

.^•acious God, in his infinite condescension, promises to 
give the new heart, as his own work. It cannot tlien be 
produced by human learning, study, or motives and 
arguments. A new heart also will I give you^ and a 
new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away 
the stony heart out of your fleshy and I will give you an 
heart ojjlesh. •\'*ot by works of righteousness, which we 
have done, but according to his mercy hath he saved us by 
the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy 
Ghost, The principle of spiritual life in the soul is not 
the effect of men, or means, motives, persuasions, or 
arguments, but is the immediate work of the divine Spirit. 
Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but God giveth the 
increase. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will 
of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. A really 
pious heart is then necessary to qualify a man to be a 
faithful gospel minister. I am happy to have it in my 
power to add, as a pleasing fact, that this is a sentiment 
adopted by all our ministers and churches. And may it 
always continue ! A minister of the gospel then, in order 
to be faithful in his work, and to his Lord and Master, 
must be a truly pious or regenerated man. 

We again remark, that fidelity in a gospel minister 
includes proper care and pains rightly to understand all 
his duty, and especially the peculiar and essential doc- 
trine^ of Christianity. His duty is very various ; and 
must be known before it can be pei formed. In ail cases, 
the knowledge of duty precedes the practice. To him is 
committed the ministry of reconciliation. And the great 
variety of its duties is to be attended upon, lest soids per- 
ish by his neglect. And what more painful thought 
can there be, than that, at the last day, the blood of souls 
should be found in his skirts. *^nd all things are of God, 
who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath 
given to us the ministry of reconciliation ; to wit, that God 
was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not 
imputing their trespasses unto them : and hath committed 



unto us the word of reconciliation, JV*ow then we are 
embassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by 
us ; we pray you in Christ* s stead, be ye reconciled to 
God, Among a minister's chief duties, is preaching to 
his people the pure gospel. He, like the great Apostle of 
the Gentiles, is to come to them, not in the enticing words 
of man's wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit 
and with power. He must then, rightly understand all 
tlic peculiar doctrines of revealed religion. It requires no 
small care and study to form scriptural and correct views 
of them. They all depend on each other. They have a 
mutual connexion. If one be understandingly admitted, 
all must be, in order to be self-consistent. I'hey must he 
contemplated afid received in all their various bearings, 
in all their extent, and connexion. In order to be faith- 
ful, therefore, he must have a clear and just knowledge of 
all the articles comprised in the faith once delivered to 
the saints, the form of sound words. Because soundness 
in the faith is of the highest consequence to the prosperity 
of Zion, and prevalence of vital piety. Hence St. Paul's 
command to Titus, But speak thou the things which become 
soimd doctrine. That a minister of the gospel know, love, 
and receive the truth is essential. Most unhappy to the 
church, and deeply to be lamented, tliat any should un- 
dertake to teach, who are either ignorant of, or reject it. 
We are not to expect that pure religion w ill flourish, while 
its fundamental principles are but imperfectly known, 
or rejected. <* An orthodox Clergy," says an English 
divine, '^ are the greatest blessing to the church, and also 
to the nation." How blessed would have been the effect, 
if in all ages of Christianity, and in all parts of the 
christian world, among the various denominations, the 
essential and discriminating principles of the gospel had 
been always taught. If all, both ministers and private 
christians had, like the Apostle, kept the faith, long before 
this time, the gospel would have covered the earth with 
its glory. Ministerial fidelity, all will see, must include 


proper care and pains, by diligent study, to form correct 
and right views of the essential truths of the gospel ; and 
of all the various duties of his office. 

It is further added, that faithfulness in a gospel min- 
ister chiefly consists in plainly preaching, and zealously 
defending all the essential principles of Christianity. The 
truth is all important ; and ought to be sincerely and 
affectionately preached, correctly stated in all its bran- 
ches, and ably defended against all enemies and exceptions. 
As the natural heart is opposed to God and divine things, 
and even to the method of salvation in the gospel, for the 
carnal mind, that is, uni'enewcd heart, is enmity to God, 
so it is to be expected that errors and heresies will be 
invented and disseminated. Holding faith and a good 
conscience : which some have put away : concerning faith 
have made shipwreck. Faith here does not mean the 
grace of faith, but the doctrine of faith. For the time 
will come when they will not endure sound doctrine f but 
after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, 
having itching ears, Jind they shall turn away their ears 
from the truth, and shall he turned unto fables, Christ's 
ministers, of course, will always have work enough to 
maintain in the churches, sound doctrine, and to preserve 
their hearers from imbihing false and erroneous principles. 
The faith, which they are to preach and defend, may be 
concisely summed up, in the following articles : Man's 
moral agency ; his accountability ; the immortality of the 
soul ; the infinite glories of God*s character ; his existence ; 
his unity ; his spirituality, and adorable attributes ; the 
original state of man as perfectly holy -, his fallen state as 
wholly depraved in heart ; the covenant of redemption i 
the covenant of grace ; the proper divinity, atonement, 
and work of the Saviour ; the trinity of persons in the 
God-Head ; the personality, divinity, work, and office of 
the Holy Ghost in the economy of our salvation ; the 
necessity of regeneration by the immediate influences of 
grace 5 justification by faith in the atoning sacrifice of 


the one Mediator ; the choice of God's people to salvation, 
through saiictification of the Spirit and belief of the truth ; 
the divine dominion over all events, or God's working all 
things after the counsel of his own will ; the rectitude of 
his government ; the unchangeable nature and excellence 
of his holy law ; the perseverance of the saints unto 
salvation, that they never will be suffered either totally 
or finally to fall from grace ; the one only way of pardon 
and glory for perishing men ; the infinite evil of sin ; the 
necessity of personal holiness or good works ; the fulness 
and sufficiency of the inspired volume ; the two sacra- 
ments, baptism and the Lord's supper ; the morality of 
the christian sabbath ; the use of the means of grace ; 
the general resurrection; the universal judgment ; the 
endless happiness of the righteous, and endless misery of 
the wicked. These, according to all our best and most 
approved standards and confessions of faith, are the 
peculiar and essential doctrines of the gospel, what the 
Apostle Peter, by a happy- metaphor, calls the sincere milk 
of the word. And preaching them plainly, and in their 
proper order, is being faithful in the pastoral office. 

It is again to be observed, that faithfulness in a gospel 
minister implies diligent care to impart to all a portion of 
meat, in due season. He must be diligent in all his duty. 
^nd the Lord said, who then is that faithful and wise 
steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his house- 
hold to give them their portion of meat in due season. The 
faithful servant of the Lord will study rightly to divide 
the word of truth, that he may be a workman that needeth 
not to be ashamed. He will, as a faithful pastor, carefully 
inspect the state of his flock ; will guard and defend them 
against errors and enemies, against such as would bite and 
devour, scatter and destroy. Attentive to the various 
dispensations of Providence towards them, his uniform 
endeavour will be to feed them with the bread of life, and 
water of life, to suit his instructions to the diversified 
cases of his hearers, to declare the whole counsel of God^ 


to keep back no part of it, whetlier palatable or unpalata- 
ble. He will not seek to please men, but to please God. 
As a skilful architect, he will lay the foundation right, 
which is Christ and him crucified. He will strive to alarm 
the secure, to awaken the sleepy, to console the afflicted, 
to direct aright the enquiring, to reprove the fro ward, to 
reclaim the erroneous, to reduce the wandering, to instruct 
the ignorant, to warn the delaying, to exhibit the terrors 
of the law, and to dwell on the riches of redeeming love. 
In a word, he will point all to the cross of Christ for 
pardon, help, and hope. 

It is only subjoined, faithfulness in a gospel minister 
respects the sacraments and institutions of religion. All 
its ordinances, public worship, the holy sabbath, and the 
two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's supper are calcu- 
lated, in their own nature, to instruct and refresh, to 
establish and edify. In their appointment there is a pecu- 
liar display of the wisdom and mercy of our heavenly 
Father. He ever, indeed, in the frame of his law, in all 
his gracious ordinances, consults the best good of man, 
and honour of his holy kingdom. We lament that the two 
special sacraments of the gospel, should in the various 
ages and sections of the church, be so greatly perverted, 
and abused to the purposes of superstition and contention, 
as candor must acknowledge they have been. Their 
nature, design, and use have been much mistaken. But 
alas ! wiiat has there been great and good, but has been 
abused by human depravity ? As they stand in the gospel, 
they are plain ; and a faithful minister will invariably 
endeavour to administer them only to meet subjects, always 
making a distinction between the precious and the vile, 
the clean and unclean. Thus is a minister of the gospel 
to be faithful unto death. Be thou faithful unto death, and 
I will give thee a crown of life. 

The reward, which a faithful minister is to receive 
at death, here promised, was the second thing to be 


It is here called a crown of life. The happiness of 
heaven is described by the word life, as life is the most 
valued good in this world, with which man is acquainted. 
Indeed, all acquisitions and treasures on earth are nothing 
compared to it. Heavenly blessedness is therefore called 
life, as life is the most desirable, and the sweetest good, 
known on earth. The crown of life promised to all 
Christ's faithful ministering servants, and to all faithful 
christians, consists in perfect holiness and perfect felicity 
in heaven. All the bliss of that world of glory is to be 
their reward. What honour and exaltation will they 
have ! Who can conceive what it is to be blessed with the 
full enjoyment of God to all eternity, to be in his immedi- 
ate presence, where there is fulness of joy, and pleasures 
for evermore ; — where faith will be absorbed in vision, 
and hope in fruition ? All the glory of the celestial para- 
i\isG will be their portion. And they that be wise shall 
shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn 
many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever. 
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the king- 
dom of their Father. Whatever I can say on the greatness 
of the felicity of the heavenly state will fall infinitely 
below the reality. If a painter should undertake to exhibit, 
on the canvas, the glorious lustre of the great luminary of 
the sky, he would be certain to fail in the attempt ; so the 
most elevated description of the holy blessedness of God's 
eternal kingdom, will be weak indeed, compared with the 
infinite greatness of that blessedness. It will, however, 
mainly consist in perfect conformity to the eternal source 
of all being and glory. Js for me I will behold thy face in 
righteousness : I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy 
likeness. From perfect likeness to God perfect felicity 
necessarily results. Here the sacred volume always places 
happiness. And in this evidences itself to be of divine 
original. A religion invented by man would never make 
its full recompence of reward to consist in perfect sancti- 
fication (»f heart, or jierfect conformity to God. Blessed 


are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Without 
holiness, no man shall see the Lord. We may remark, the 
body will be raised from the dead. The powers of the 
soul will receive a wonderful enlargement. The temper 
of the heart will be perfectly conformed to God. Every 
kind of evil, natural and moral, will be removed. The 
society of angels and saints will be enjoyed. We shall see 
as we are seen, and know as we are known ; be in the 
immediate presence of God and the Saviour, and shall go 
no more out. All this is comprised in the crown of life. 
The righteous shall go into life eternal. All the work, in 
th,e kingdom of our Father, will be love, adoration, and 
praise. Angels and saints will strike the highest note of 
praise. They will sing the song of Moses, and the Lamb, 
saying, great and marvellous are thy works. Lord God 
Almighty ; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints, 
Jlnd I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round 
about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders : and the 
number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and 
thousands of thousands : saying with a loud voice. Worthy 
is the lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, 
and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and 
blessing. Jlnd every creature which is in heaven, and on 
the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, 
and all that are in them, heard I sayings Blessing, and hon- 
our, and glory and power be unto him that sitteth upon the 
throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever, Jlnd the four 
beasts said, amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down, 
and worshipped him that livethfor ever and ever. Nothing 
in that world of glory shall enter that defileth ; there the 
spirits of just men are made perfect. Believers! how 
delightful a prospect is this ! You now daily weep over 
the remains of sin in your hearts, and the many imper- 
fections in duty chargeable upon you ; you grieve that 
you so often sin, wait but a short space, and sin will be 
entirely done away. You will no longer weep and mourn 
over your want of conformity to the divine law, and evil 


propensities still dwelling in you ; you will no longer 
exclaim. Oh, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver 
me from the body of this death : For it will be forever 
removed, when your Saviour shall put you in possession 
of the crown of life. Into heaven no sin, sorrow, or 
death shall ever enter. And there shall be no night there; 
and there shall be no more curse. Saints of our God ! 
who have already arrived at this happy state, blessed are 
ye ! While ye have already entered into the port of rest, 
we are still exposed to the fury of the tempest. Whilst 
ye have the crown of life, we are left to conflict with 
enemies and dangers. 

He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will 
be his God, and he shall be my son. What a plenitude ! 
rich plenitude of bliss. He that overcometh, shall sit 
with me on my throne, as I also overcame and am sit 
down with my Father on his throne. And God shall 
wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there sliall be no 
more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there 
be any more pain, for the former things are passed away. 
The felicity of heaven is set forth in the word of God, by 
a great variety of expressions, and figures of speech. 
Sometimes it is called heaven ; the third heaven ; para- 
dise of God ,' his throne ; his temple ; bis kingdom ; a 
city ; the new Jerusalem ; a house of God ; the inheri- 
tance of the saints in light ; seeing God and Christ ; 
enjoying this vision forever ; fulness of joy ; pleasures 
for evermore; everlasting life ; a crown of life. At death 
the soul of the believer enters on its reward — goes imme- 
diately to the world of glory, and the body rests in the 
grave. After the resurrection and universal judgment, its 
felicity will be complete with the new raised body. Its 
bliss will be consummated. AH the pious, likewise, as 
well as fiiitliful ministers, will receive a crown of life. 
" Oil, what a happy exchange of worlds is made by the 
christian at death I He goes from a world of sin to a world 
of perfect holiness ; from a state of sorrow, sickness and 


piiiu, to a state of peace, health, and ease ; from bondage 
to the liberty of the children of God ; from a wilderness 
to a paradise ; from a cross to a crown ; from earth to 
heaven. > What could prevail with him, were it possible, 
to return back to this world, and again encounter the 
innumerable evils of human life ? What could induce him 
to leave the friendly climates of peace, purity, and joy, to 
be again subject to ail the distresses of this inhospitable 
wilderness ; to experience again the storms of the tem- 
pestuous ocean of life, now he is on the peaceful shores of 
a blest eternity r" Be thou faithful unto death, and I will 
give thee a crown of life. This is a promise greatly for the 
comfort of all pious people, as well as gospel ministers. 

But it is more than time to apply our subject to the 
wery solemn occasion of our present assembling in the 
sanctuary of the Lord. The audience will at once per- 
ceive how appropriate the text is, to the mournful occasion. 
We are met to pay our last sad offices to the remains of 
the deceased. There is a time to mourn. This daughter 
of Zion is covered with a cloud ; is clad in mourning 
apparel. Brethren and friends, we weep with you. 
You are deeply afflicted. The breach made is as vride as 
the sea. The great Head of the church alone can heal it ; 
and to him are you to look, with your fervent cries, to 
remember you in your bereavement. Sister churches 
mingle their tears with yours. Extensively in our Zion, 
will this death be lamented. A great and good man is 
fallen into the arms of death. 

The benevolence of the christian religion teaclies us to 
weep with those that weep. Its divine Author wept at 
the grave of his friend Lazarus. A church and people 
called to bury a wise, faithful, and beloved Pastor, and to 
be in a destitute state, experience an affliction, the bitter- 
ness of which can be known only by being felt. There lie 
before us the breathless remains of that revered and dis- 
tinguished servant of the Lord, that man of God, who for 
forty-three Tears ministered to this people in the gospel | 



long has lie broken to them the bread of life, and consc- 
crated to them, his time and eminent talents. He has 
shined, in his place, as a star of the first magnitude. 

That infinitely wise Providence, which governs the 
dependent universe, and with which are all the destinies 
of man, removes from our world the instruments employed 
in answering the purposes of God, at his pleasure, when 
and how he judges best, most conducive to his glory. 
Justice and judgment are tlie habitation of liis throne^ 
righteousness and peace for ever go before him. His is 
tlie kingdom, his is the power, and his is the glory. He 
doth according to his sovereign will in the armies of 
heaven, and among the inhabitants of this world. He 
sends liis messenger of death to close man's probation- 
state, as he sees fit. None can stay his hand, nor has a 
right to say unto him, what dost thou ? Man goeth to his 
long home, and the mourners go about the streets. Then 
shall the dust return to the earth, as it was, arid the spirit 
shall return unto God who gave it. 

The death of the Rev. Dr. Strong is deeply lamented ; 
and tlie community sensibly feel the loss, as well as the 
people of his pastoral care, and his children, to whom he 
was an indulgent parent, and near relatives, by whom he 
was affectionately regarded. He was, indeed, beloved 
and esteemed where known ; and he was extensively 
known. He was the pastor of the first presbyterian 
church in Hartford. And had performed the important 
and arduous duties of a gospel minister for the long 
period of forty -three years. This first church of Hartford 
was also the first church of Christ formed in the state of 
Connecticut. It was established one hundred and eighty 
years ago, by the venerable Thomas Hooker, and his 
assistant in the holy ministry, the Rev. Samuel Stone. 

They came from England to America in 1633, and 
fixed themselves, witli those who came with them, in 
Newtown, now Cambridge, near Boston, Massachusetts : 
and there resided three years. And in June 1636, reach- 


ed Hartford, with a company of one hundred souls ; and 
organized here, this church, in 1636, the first established 
in this, then colony, now state of Connecticut, and in 
which gospel worship and ordinances have ever since been 
regularly maintained. They have had eight worthy min- 
isters, before the deceased. He was ordained to the work 
of the christian ministry over this church and people, on 
the 5th day of January, 1774. 

Some observations concerning him may here be prop- 
erly indulged. Biography is a pleasing branch of history. 
All, from curiosity, have a desire to know what is most 
interesting in public characters, which have been highly 
distinguished. He was descended from pious and respec- 
table parents, who gave him much religious instruction 
from the earliest youth ; and when of suitable age, the 
advantages of a public collegiate education. He was born 
in the town of Coventry in Connecticut, in the north 
parish. His father was the pastor of the church and 
people there ; was much esteemed ; and laboured in word 
and doctrine among his people to an advanced age. AVhen 
this son was of proper age, and had attended to the requi- 
site previous studies, he was entered, as a student, in 
Yale College. As a student, in the various branches of 
science, as well as learned languages, taught in that 
college, the deceased distinguished himself. After com- 
pleting his term of education, and receiving the customary 
honours of the college, such was his scholarship, that he 
was, in due time, appointed to the office of a tutor or 
instructor in that seat of learning; and he was much 
esteemed in this capacity. While sustaining this office, 
he applied himself to the study of the law, with a view to 
be a counsellor at law, and he was nearly prepared to 
make his appearance at the bar. But upon more mature 
deliberation, he determined to serve his God and his gen- 
eration, in the holy ministry of the gospel. He had hope- 
fully become pious, and embraced religion, before this 


After applying himself for a short time to the study 
of theology, he offered himself for examination, to an 
association of ministers, and heing judged qualified to 
preach tlic gospel, received their approbation. He was 
among the most popular and esteemed licentiates of his 
day. Wherever he was called to preach, he was heard 
with pleasure. Several applications were made to him by 
vacant churches and congregations to preach with them, 
in order to a settlement in the gospel ministry over them. 

Among these, the church and people of Hartford, first 
ecclesiastical society, applied to him. Their invitation 
w^as accepted. He gave general satisfaction; and being 
united, they presented, in form, a call to him, to take the 
pastoral charge of them ; and made him such proposals 
and offers, that he accepted the call. Accordingly he was 
ordained to the work of the gospel ministry over them, on 
the 5th day of January, 1774. Here he has lived, and 
laboured, ever since, as a faithful and eminent servant of 
the Lord, amid all the changes, distresses, and revolutions 
of our own country, and convulsions of the civilized world. 

He well understood human nature, and how to manage 
it, even in various trying circumstances. He had an 
uncommon insight into characters, and an almost intuitive 
comprehension of them. He saw when, and how to 
attack, and when, and how to retreat ; what was proper, 
and what was improper ; what would move and influence, 
and what would be unavailing. 

The God of nature endowed him with rich powers of 
mind, far superior to what is common. From the strength 
and acuteness of his genius, he was capable of deep inves- 
tigation. His judgment, by which he examined, com- 
pared, and weighed subjects, to which he turned his 
attention, was sound and correct. His apprehension was 
remarkably quick and brilliant. His memory was reten- 
tive. In comprehension and extent of thought he excelled. 
Such were the uncommon resources and energy of his 
mind as fitted him to accomplish much ; to acquire 



knowledge rapidly ; and to be equal to the most unex- 
pected and pressing emergencies. As a student, he was 
diligent, feeling the importance of losing no time. As a 
reasoner, he was fair, candid, and impressive, availing 
himself of every circumstance, which would render his 
argument irresistible. It cannot be omitted, that among 
his various talents, he liad a large portion of severe and 
sarcastic wit. But, if introduced often in social inter- 
course, was never suffered to obtrude itself, into his 
pulpit discourses. His eminent powers of mind would 
have enabled him to excel, in any learned prc-fession. 
In his own, he greatly excelled. We rejoice that such 
talents were devoted to religion, which, of all subjects, 
to which man can turn his attention, is infinitely the 
most important, whether in relation to the life that now 
is, or that which is to come. As a scholar, philosopher, 
and christian divine, he had solid merit. He was not 
forward and assuming, boastful and obtrusive, but cau- 
tious and sagacious, deeply penetrating, and popular 
and eloquent in address. Intent upon truth, he preferred 
ideas to the ornaments of style. He came to his people, 
not with the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in the 
fulness of the blessing of the gospel of peace. He had too 
great a mind to aim at a florid, pompous, and ornamente^l 
diction. His language was manly, forcible, and plain. 
He had, indeed, many felicities of expression. As a 
preacher, he was faithful and diligent in his weekly prep- 
aration for the pulpit, knowing that beaten oil becomes 
the sanctuary of the Lord. His general strain was sol- 
emn and evangelical, often sublime and eloquent. He had 
a richness of thouglit, and would often delight his hearers, 
with an unexpected train of remarks, always accurately 
discriminating between those hopes of eternal life, which 
are well founded, and hypocrisy and delusion. He was a 
firm believer in the doctrines of grace, and a strenuous 
advocate for them. AVhile most affectionately attached 
to them, he was of a candid and catholic spirit to all, who 


professed to love the divine Redeemer. He was IVee 
from bigotry and superstition. To the promotion of pure 
religion he directed his greatest efforts. Christ and him 
crucified was the sum of his preaching. Here is the only 
help of lost man. Here his only hope. By no other 
name can we be saved. I do not go too far, when I say, 
that Dr. Strong was among the best and ablest divines of 
our own country, or any other. He had none of the mad 
and shameful spirit of prosclytism. A friend to free 
enquiry, he claimed the right to think for himself in relig- 
ion, and was willing that otliers should enjoy the same 
right. Every man must stand or fall to his own master. 

In the devotional exercises of christian worship, he was 
solemn, comprehensive, and interesting. Few ministers 
could comprise more in fewer words, or equally well 
adapt themselves to particular cases, occasions, and cir- 
cumstances, however difficult or trying. His pastoral 
duties were faithfully performed ; and most seasonable and 
interesting counsel given, when he was called to attend 
them, to tlic sick and dying. And his labours, in the 
gospel, were greatly blessed. He was used as an instru- 
ment of much good to souls. He saw and rejoiced in 
several seasons of special attention, among his people, 
and large accessions to his church, as the consequence. 
The number of communicants at the sacramental table is 
greater than in any other church, in the whole state. As 
a preacher, he was highly esteemed by his own people, 
and in sister churches and congregations, and wherever 
he was occasionally called. In all ecclesiastical councils 
and judicatories, his advice and voice were greatly 
valued. His worth was duly appreciated by the public. 
And the community weep with his bereaved children, 
friends, and people. His public services were important ; 
and he was called to act in many different situations, and 
honoured with tokens of respect. He was a member of 
the board of trustees of Hartford grammar school — of the 
Connecticut academy of arts and sciences — of the board 


of trustees of Yale College — received a doctorate in 
divinity from Nassau Hall, New-Jersey. He had as much 
agency, and perhaps more, than any other man, in form- 
ing the missionary society of Connecticut ; and for many 
years was an influential memher of the board of trust. 
A society, which has been honoured, with the smiles of a 
gracious Providence, in doing as much for the needy and 
destitute in our new settlements in the wilderness, as any 
other in America. And in order to furnish a fund for the 
support of that society, and to enable it to carry into 
eifect its pious and benevolent purposes, the Connecticut 
Evangelical Magazine was instituted, the avails of which 
were to form a permanent fund. And being the first insti- 
tuted in America, this Magazine had a most extensive and 
rapid circulation. While it happily furnished a respectable, 
missionary fund, it enlightened, we believe, edified, and 
animated its numerous readers. In originating and con- 
ducting this richly meritorious monthly publication. Dr. 
Strong had perhaps greater agency than any other man. 
He has published two volumes of sermons ; one volume of 
controversy, and several occasional discourses. He was 
placed in a situation where he had opportunity to do 
much, and he had talents fitted to accomplish much. He 
was an efficient member of every board, where he had a 
seat. Nature formed him for enterprise. He miglit 
have imperfections, but he had an assemblage of excellen- 
cies and estimable virtues. Such was Dr. Stboxg, a dis- 
tinguished minister of the gospel. He lived greatly 
respected, and died extensively lamented. His death has 
filled the religious public with tender emotions. 

We sympathize with the bereaved mourners, the chil- 
dren of the deceased, with their connexions and relatives. 
Your loss is great. One dear to you, and justly respected, 
is removed from you, by the cold hand of death. His life 
and usefulness were long continued. He goes to the silence 
of the tomb, greatly lamented. He has finished his course, 
and kept the faith ; we trust, a crown of righteousness 


v/as laid up for him in heaven, where all the redeemed 
church shall at last meet, to go no more out. To console 
his weeping disciples, their hlessed Lord observed tothem» 
In my Father's house are many mansions : if it were not 
so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, 
and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye 
may be also. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, 
Death is gain to the good man ; for me to die is gain. He 
goes from a world of sorrow-, to a world where all tears 
shall be vviped away ; from a state of distress and painful 
vicissitudes, to a world of unchangeable felicity ; from 
darkness and doubts to the full vision and fruition of God 
and the Redeemer ; from a frail dying body to an immor- 
tality of blessedness ; from a cross to a crown. Your loss 
will be his gain. He was an example of piety, prudence, 
and wisdom to his children ; family, friends, people, and 
to all. He studied to show himself approved unto God, a 
workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing 
the word of truth. You will carefully remember his in- 
struction that you may be wise unto salvation. Be thank- 
ful tliat a kind Providence spared him in life so long, a 
rich blessing to you, by his prayers and counsel. Feel 
your obligations to be humble, resigned, and submissive. 
Most painful is the separation of friends, by death. A 
holy and sovereign God, in whom are all the destinies of 
men, is to be adored in all afflictions and bereavements. 
He never does wrong. Infinite wisdom cannot err. Infi- 
nite goodness cannot be unkind. The sceptre of God's 
kingdom is a I'ight sceptre. Be followers of those who 
through faith and patience inherit the promises. Trust 
in the same God, and same Saviour, in whom your deceas- 
ed father and friend trusted. And you shall be blessed in 
life, in death, and in eternity. His voice, you never more 
will hear. His face you never more will see. His pious 
counsel never more will you attend. How affecting the 
idea ! but, rich arc the promises and consolations of the 


gospel. May you apply the one and experience the othei* 
in your sorrow. If it be a privilege to have had such a 
FRIEND, as is now taken from you — how great the loss ! 
go to God, and he will bless you. Go to his throne of 
grace, and seek a sanctified use of the chastising rod. 
How many will mourn with you ! 

This death, which hath convened us, we wish may be 
sanctified to this church and people, as well as to the 
whole town. When distinguished characters are removed, 
whether in sacred or civil life, the whole community sus- 
tain a loss. Peculiarly, the flock of God here have a 
tender part to take in these funeral solemnities. For 
many years, no less than forty -three, your deceased pastor 
ministered to you in holy things. He was greatly re- 
spected by you. He was a faithful labourer in the vine- 
yard of our common Lord. But you will see him no 
more for ever. The great change of death has passed 
upon him. You will hear his voice no more from this 
sacred desk. At his request, and that of the family, I 
now address you. What rich instruction, from sabbath 
to sabbath, did he give you. How solid and weighty, how 
clear and evangelical, his preaching. He was sound in the 
faith, equally distant from superstition and enthusiasm. 
A firm believer in the doctrines of grace, and an able 
advocate for them. How bright did the light of gospel 
truth shine before you. He had a solemn, manly, and 
comprehensive manner of speaking. He was superior to 
the vain ornaments of style. The greatness of his genius 
could not stoop to the employment of rounding, polishing, 
and smoothing his periods. If he had not what fashiona- 
ble hearers would call the charms of pulpit eloquence, he 
had sublimity of thought, and a powerful, impressive 
delivery. His praise is in the churches. When his body 
shall mingle with the common dust, in the grave, his 
sermons published, will please and enlighten — will instruct 
and edify you and your children's children. A people, 
wlio have an eminent and distinguished minister of Christ, 


arc unspeakably favoured in Providence, How great 
have been your advantages and privileges in this respect ! 
but you arc now a bereaved flock — an afflicted people. 
Your local situation, in the centre of the state ; one of the 
capital towns of the state ; the place of the session of the 
legislature of the state ; of courts, and the resort of 
strangers ; the largeness of your congregation, and of the 
church, for it is the greatest in the state ; all these circum- 
stances combined render it peculiarly important that you 
have an able and orthodox, pious and learned minister of 
Christ. That you have such an one, is of high importance 
to the interest of religion. Your condition is critical, and 
your loss great. No small degree of prudence and wisdom 
is requisite in seeking to have this important vacancy in 
our churches filled with a pastor duly qualified. You 
must have a man of great prudence and sagacity. In your 
endeavours to obtain a successor to Dr. Strong, allow 
me to say, you should, first of all, look for real experi- 
mental piety, and soundness in the faith ; for good talents, 
and scholarship, in the second place ; and then for pru- 
dence, the accomplishments necessary to please, and a 
handsome address or pulpit eloquence. We rest assured 
you never will agree to settle a man, unless pious, a 
regenerated man ; and unless a believer in the doctrines 
of grace, and a strenuous advocate for them. Be not 
carried away, I know you will not, with mere extrinsic 
merit, a florid, declamatory style. Brethren and friends, 
we mourn most sincerely with you, we pray the great Head 
of the church to keep you from division ; to guide and 
bless you ; to send you, in due time, one to break the 
bread of life to you ; and to preach the pure gospel ; who 
shall be an able, faithful and successful minister. 

The pastors of the churches assembled, on this affec- 
ting occasion, will permit a word to be spoken to them. 
Brethren and friends, what a solemn lesson does this 
death teach us. Soon — ah ! soon we must follow him to 
the silence of the tomb. Let us be diligent and faithful, 


ill the work, to which we are called. Eminent and 
distinguished was our brother and friend, whose remains 
are before us. Like him, we too must die. And like 
him, let us be laborious, studious, and faithful, till our 
Master shall come and call for us. Blessed is that servant^ 
whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. 

Let all this numerous auditory receive, on this occasion, 
a word of exhortation. Your life is preserved. Mercy 
is still proffered to you. Flee then, to the great Re- 
deemer, who is still waiting to be gracious to you ; to the 
fountain of his blood, to the throne of his grace. He still 
extends his arms to embrace you. He still entreats, 
beseeches, importunes you to turn and live. He still 
gives his promises to allure you ; his ministers to call 
you ; his Spirit to excite you. *' He still stands before the 
throne of the eternal Father, presenting to him the sacri- 
fice of Calvary, and interceding for you. He still cries 
unto you, why — why will ye die ? Can you resist longer 
these condescending exhortations, entreaties, importuni- 
ties of the Son of God? I beseech you no longer to 
refuse admission to the Saviour, thus standing and knock- 
ing at the door of your hearts. He offers himself to you, 
as your Redeemer and portion. Receive the divine offer, 
humbly, thankfully, joyfully. I adjure you thus to 
act. I adjure you, by the love and terrors of the Lord ; 
by the solemnities of the day of judgment ^ by a regard 
to the eternal destinations of your souls. Flee to the blood 
of Jesus for the remission of your iniquities ; to the 
righteousness of Jesus for the justification of your per- 
sons ; to the grace of Jesus for power to resist sin ; to 
the blessed spirit of Jesus, as a fountain of holiness and 
happiness." Thus shall your life be peace, your eternity, 
joy ; you shall appear, without dismay at his bar, and be 
admitted by him to that kingdom of glory, where you 
shall sing, with the heavenly host, blessing, and honor, 
and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the 
throne; and unto the Lamb for ever and ever Ame.v. 










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